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Florida Consumers Show Some Optimism

Florida consumers are more confident about the U.S. economy and their future personal finances than a month ago, a new University of Florida study reported Tuesday.

However, Floridians remain at record lows in their expectations for the long-term recovery of the economy.

The increase in confidence this month was mostly a rebound from very low levels in August, Chris McCarty, director of UFs Survey Research Center at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, stated in a release.

On a 100-point scale, Floridas consumer confidence hit 64 in September, up 3 points from August. The rating is just 5 points above the record low of 59 set in June 2008.

The scales benchmark 100 is equal to the level of consumer confidence in 1966.

Of the five components used by UF researchers to measure confidence, four edged upward: expectations for personal finances, overall expectations for the country, anticipation that the U.S. economy will improve in the coming year and confidence that now is a good time to purchase a big-ticket item.

It is not surprising that confidence rose this month as we get further from the debt-ceiling debate, McCarty stated. Confidence actually rose this month among both younger and older respondents, although it is still at historically low levels."

The only component to show a decline in September was the perception that personal finances today are lower than a year ago. It fell by 3 points to 50, which means more consumers are pessimistic.

Consumer confidence is designed to help predict buying patterns by measuring the mood of consumers toward purchasing.

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